News State QLD News Palaszczuk faces up to integrity findings
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Palaszczuk faces up to integrity findings

Annastacia Palazczuk addresses concerns about Queensland government integrity

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The Queensland government will release cabinet papers within 30 days instead of 30 years, in what Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says is a “revolutionary” response to a damning integrity review.

Ms Palaszczuk, who was publicly absent on Wednesday while undergoing dental surgery, faced a barrage of questions on Thursday, two days after the review found major issues within the public service.

Professor Peter Coaldrake’s landmark report pointed to a tolerance of bullying and a reluctance to deviate from the perceived official government line.

Ms Palaszczuk said she was taking “personal responsibility” to make certain the report’s 14 recommendations were implemented. They include the proactive release of cabinet submissions, agendas and decision papers.

“It means that cabinet papers, which are usually held for 30 years, will be released in 30 days. This is revolutionary,” she said.

People are more likely to trust their governments if decisions that affect their lives and spend taxpayers’ funds were “made in the open and subject to scrutiny”, Professor Coaldrake found.

Notably, the Queensland government has faced scrutiny over the details of its Wellcamp COVID-19 quarantine facility contracts, pointing to commercial in-confidence considerations.

“There is nothing in the Wellcamp deal that should remain under lock and key, so if you believe in lock, stock and barrel reform … we will know how much it costs and when it will end,” Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said on Wednesday.

The Coaldrake report also calls for the access and influence of lobbyists to be reigned in, including an explicit ban on ‘dual-hatting’ during election campaigns.

“To every single member of the business community out there, you do not need to employ a lobbyist to have a meeting with my government,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

But on dual-hatting, the practice of former political campaigners taking on lobbying roles during subsequent elections, the premier said every state and federal campaign run by the major parities employed a lobbyist.

“That has been the practice for many years, in fact, many decades,” she said.

The Liberal National opposition backed the report’s recommendations, with Mr Crisafulli saying a poor public service culture was having a direct impact on the government’s ability to deliver.

Katter’s Australian Party also welcomed the report but said it would do little to address concerns. The Greens said the recommendations were Band-Aid solutions to a systemic level of government interference.

– AAP